Matrix outlook remains positive
The Yardi Matrix team, including Jeff Adler and Tyson Huebner, delivered its final webinar of the 2023 year on the student housing sector’s performance and investment opportunities. If you missed it, you can view the recording and presentation slides here.
Student housing maintained strong performance into the start of the 2023/2024 school year, though preleasing activity and rent growth showed some signs of slowing in the final weeks of leasing season.
“The bottom line is that this sector compared to other sectors in the housing industry is looking very stellar. Good positioning, good rent growth – we don’t think (next year) will be quite as good as this year was, but still very strong,” said Adler, vice president of Yardi Matrix. “This is a great real estate segment and industry to be in, but picking the right schools is very critical to success.”
Yardi Matrix has updated the schools whose housing is tracked in the Yardi 200, swapping out about 30 institutions less relevant to investors. The total tracked data set now includes 2,200 properties with 1.1 million beds.
As of September 2023, 95.1 percent of beds at Yardi 200 universities were preleased, compared to 96.2 percent in September 2022. Lower preleasing in recent months can be partly attributed to slow lease-up of new 2023 deliveries, which were only 84.4 percent preleased in September.
Rents are near an all-time high at $846 per bed, relatively unchanged in the past four months. Rent growth dropped to 6.1 percent in September, down from 6.5 percent in August and a peak of 7 percent in March 2023. But it is still well above previous years; it averaged 2.9 percent in September 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. (Read more findings from the latest student housing report here.)
Student housing has seen a steep drop-off in transaction activity, which is attributed to ongoing strong performance and difficult financing conditions. But for owners and developers who completed new projects in time for fall leasing, rents were much higher than for existing properties.
“New properties delivering this year had rents that were 29 percent above the national average,” said Huebner. Rents per bed for newly completed units averaged $1,088 as of September.
“With continued rent growth in the sector and new supply coming at pretty high price points, I do think that will be an emerging investment opportunity when capital market conditions are ripe,” Adler said.
He continued: “Everything’s a great place to put capital into; it’s a great place to participate. It does require an intense knowledge of each particular school and the sort of demand supply enrollment balances that make that all work.”
Improve your market knowledge with a Yardi Matrix subscription: the industry’s most comprehensive market intelligence tool for investment professionals, equity investors, lenders and property managers who underwrite and manage investments in commercial real estate. Yardi Matrix covers multifamily, student housing, vacant land, industrial, office, retail and self storage property types. Email [email protected], call 480-663-1149 or visit yardimatrix.com to learn more.